Futurism: room guide, room 1, introduction Room 1: introduction

Umberto Boccioni, ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ 1913, cast 1972
Umberto Boccioni
Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913, cast 1972
Tate

With the publication of the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism in February 1909, Filippo Tomasso Marinetti laid out the blueprint for an avant-garde movement. He was deliberately provocative in his wholesale rejection of the past: ‘Turn aside the canals to flood the museums!… Take up your pickaxes, your axes and hammers and wreck, wreck the venerable cities, pitilessly!’ Beginning with Italy, which he saw as artistically complacent, he proposed a total modernisation of contemporary culture in line with the advances in technology, philosophy and anarchist politics. Most controversially, he celebrated war as a means of political change and dismissed contemporary feminism.

Speed, ‘the new beauty’, was the defining phenomenon of modern life, transforming even the structure of the human body. Marinetti described himself as a modern centaur piloting his car, swept by ‘the raging broom of madness’. He declared that ‘a roaring car… is more beautiful than The Victory of Samothrace.’

The painters Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo and Gino Severini all joined the movement. To shape their art they drew upon new ideas of perception, experimental photography and multi-sensory responses, and the simultaneous interleaving of memory and experience. In parallel to the abstraction of form developed by the Cubists, the Futurists fragmented the body to show its active impact on its surroundings, through what they called ‘lines of force’. With echoes of Friedrich Nietzsche’s intellectually and physically developed superman, the new heroic human was adapted to the 20th century in a way that would allow the individual to transform society.

Futurism: The Street Room 2a: Futurism: The Street

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 2a, Futurism: The Street

Futurism: States of Mind Room 2b: Futurism: States of Mind

Futurism: room guide, room 2b, Futurism: States of Mind

Futurism: Cabaret Room 2c: Futurism: Cabaret

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 2c, Futurism: Cabaret

Futurism Paris: Cubism Room 3, Paris: Cubism

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 3, Paris: Cubism

Futurism Paris: Section d'Or Room 4, Paris: Section d'Or

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 4, Paris: Section d'Or

Futurism Paris: Orphism Room 5, Paris: Orphism

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 5, Paris: Orphism

Russia: Cubo-Futurism Room 6, Russia: Cubo-Futurism

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 6, Russia: Cubo-Futurism

Futurism Words in Freedom Room 7, Words in Freedom

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 7, Words in Freedom

Futurism London: Vorticism Room 8, London: Vorticism

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 8, London: Vorticism

Futurism War Room 9, War

Futurism exhibition at Tate Modern: room guide, room 9, War